On April 3, 2015, in Doraville, Georgia, a man who appeared to be a law enforcement officer conducted a traffic stop of a Chevrolet Suburban by activating light-emitting diode (LED) lights on his vehicle similar to those used on law-enforcement vehicles.
One problem: The lights were green and white instead of blue and white.
Unbeknownst to the apparent officer, the Chevrolet Suburban was being driven by an off-duty corporal with the Doraville Police Department.
During the unauthorized traffic stop, the apparent officer wore a T-shirt printed with the letters “DEA,” carried what appeared to be a .45 caliber handgun in a thigh holster, and possessed an identification card purportedly issued by the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Had a realistic badge
The Doraville corporal also saw that the man possessed a realistic gold and blue badge embossed with the letters “US.”
The Doraville corporal told the man that he was a Doraville police officer and asked him why his LED lights were green and white.
In response to the question, the apparent officer replied that his LED lights were green and white because he was a federal officer.
The Doraville corporal then stated that other police officers were en route to check the validity of his law enforcement credentials – whereupon the man returned to his car and fled the scene.
Fake ID card recovered
Further investigation led Doraville and Dunwoody police officers to the residence of Daniel M. Harbison, who was ultimately arrested. From Harbison’s residence, police officers recovered several items, including: a Springfield .45 caliber handgun, a DEA T-shirt, LED lights, an identification card purportedly issued by the DEA, and a gold and blue badge embossed with the letters “US.”
Harbison, 40, of Dunwoody, Georgia, has previously been convicted of a felony and as a result, could not legally possess the gun.
Harbison has been arraigned on federal charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm while impersonating a DEA agent after allegedly performed the traffic stop of the off-duty police officer.
“Posing as a federal agent creates a genuine safety risk for everyone involved, as well as bystanders, especially when a firearm is present,” said Acting U.S. Attorney John A. Horn. “The event is deeply unsettling to the victim and threatens to undermine legitimate police encounters that take place every day.”